Public Safety

Grant Aims to Lower Repeat DUIs

A Probation Officer administers a test that checks for alcohol on an offender.

The problem of people convicted of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol then doing so again is a serious threat to public safety. So far in 2016, 15 new DUI offenses have been committed by those already under San Diego County Probation Department supervision for that same crime, and 16 DUI probationers have been arrested or cited for driving with a suspended or revoked license in San Diego County.

A new $560,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety will supplement the salaries for three Probation officers to help prevent such repeat crimes. The grant period extends through October 2017.

“This grant is a tremendous boost to our efforts,” said San Diego County Probation Chief Adolfo Gonzales. “Overall, 82 percent of DUI probationers remain in compliance. That is due in part to the proactive enforcement efforts of our officers and the linking of offenders to appropriate services such as counseling, support meetings, and substance abuse treatment to help them stay sober.”

The Probation Department’s enforcement role includes intensive supervision as needed, unannounced visits and searches, random drug and alcohol testing, electronic monitoring if ordered, and sobriety checkpoints. Probation officers also compile and send out lists of recent felony DUI offenders living in the area to the Sheriff’s department and other law enforcement agencies to keep them aware.

The grant puts special focus on high-risk repeat DUI offenders and is aimed at reducing the number of victims killed and injured in alcohol and other drug-related collisions in the county, especially by DUI probationers.

“Complying with probation orders is the first and most necessary step to keep these offenders from being a danger to themselves or others in the future,” said OTS Director Rhonda Craft. “The Office of Traffic Safety and the San Diego County Probation Department will be working together to help keep the streets and highways safe across San Diego and the state.”

Funding for the grant comes from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Yvette Urrea Moe is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact